Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bury the Children in the Yard

Author: Andersen Prunty
Description: Andersen Prunty returns with another collection of horror stories. This volume features: “The Library of Trespass”, “Music from the Slaughterhouse”, “A Butterfly in Ice”, “The Spot”, “Laundrymen”, “The Warm House”, and the novella “Bury the Children in the Yard.”
Review: I got this because I'm now a huge fan of Prunty. This is not bizarro at all, but it is sure out there. The writing is fantastic, the stories are perfectly written and just the right length. The longer, definitely more epic, tale "Bury the Children in the Yard" is a monster of a tale. Not in length, but in impact and brute force. This one sticks out so much that I'm spending the rest of the review on it.
Just to give a little warning, there is a focus on s-e-x in this story, but it makes perfect sense when you hit a certain point in the tale. Substitute violence for ankles-in-the-air, and it all clicks. Since that is what rumpy-bumpy is. But, true to Prunty's style, reality vs. dream is wiped from your brain in a massive swoop and you exclaim to a crowded lunchroom: "WTF!"
And when they ask what you are reading, you click off the device, and run from the room.
There were times in the story where I thought I knew what was going to happen; what the final denouement will be. And my stomach lurched when I (thought) I had it figured out... I remember thinking, "Oh no, he is no going there, is he?" But he doesn't. At least not explicitly. After thinking this over, I realize that that is the genius... he never comes out and tells you, but you are given enough clues with which you can assemble the puzzle.
That is why I need Clorox for the brain.

I can appreciate those who do not see this as horror, because it does not involve head-chopping, chainsaw-wielding savages, or torture. For those who appreciate a subtler brand of horror and fear, this collection is perfect (especially the last story.) One does not need graphic images to be frightened. Fear doesn't always manifest itself the same in people--I was not scared by these stories. I squirmed, I writhed, I became nearly nauseous at the thought of where the author was going. And I didn't need an entire movie-reel of violence and bloodshed.
The ending, however, seemed to lack a certain oomph. As I re-read, it makes sense to end that way, but I still didn't really get a sense that this ended as strongly as it could have. That is the only reason this thing does not get five stars.... otherwise it is absolutely amazing.
4 solid stars

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